A wooden motorcycle powered by algae

Electric cars and bikes, both motorcycles and bicycles, are popping up like mushrooms, but Ritsert Mans looks at another source of clean energy to power his motorcycle: algae. This, however, isn’t the only interesting feature of this bike, which he built himself, as it is made almost entirely out of wood.

A motorcycle, according to Mans, is the most basic and pure form to turn an energy source into a means of transportation. It is not very comfortable and rather dangerous, but it is the ultimate form of freedom.

Mans’ aim was to build a high tech layout motorcycle frame in which, if possible, natural materials were used. The motorcycle has a fork in the rear and front, which is only attached to one side of the wheel.

The frame is made from glue-laminated birch. Birch is a light and strong type of wood and can be bent easily. The wood was glued together with wood glue that stays flexible, instead of epoxy. Crucial points in the construction have been strengthened by flax, which is one of the toughest materials available, while cork was used as compression material in the front and rear fork. Only the wheels, axes, and motor block are made from metal.

Rather than using petrol-based fuels, the motorcycle runs on algal oil, with a tank volume of 600 millilitres (1.3 pints).

The geometry of the wooden motorcycle was made to ride on the beach in a straight line. In total, the vehicle has covered about 20 kilometres (12.4 miles), using about 1 litre (2.1 pints) of algal oil. Its maximum speed has been calculated to be 100 km/h (62 mph).

The wooden motorcycle was made alongside the Dutch book “De Dikke Alg: waarom algen de wereld gaan redden” (The Fat Alga: Why algae will save the world), written by Mans’ friend Peter Mooij.

Mans and his motorcycle will be present at the Dutch Design Week (21-29 October 2017).

Photos: Mans